6 Ways to Increase Your Facebook Reach Without Paying
Recently, Facebook issued the following statement to its ad partners: “We expect organic distribution of an individual’s page posts to gradually decline over time as we continually work to make sure that people have a meaningful experience on the site.” They also told marketers that they should consider paid distribution “to maximize delivery of your message in news feed.”
Need some help decoding? Facebook is essentially saying that your business’s page will reach fewer followers by virtue of it being a business page. That is, unless you want to pay up.
Fortunately, there are still several free yet effective methods for increasing Facebook reach that work amazingly well even in light of their rapidly-evolving business model. Below are six such strategies you can implement immediately in order to increase the reach of your Facebook pages without paying a cent.
But first, let’s talk reach.
Savvy online marketers understand that mastering the nuances of Facebook’s “reach” feature is one of the golden keys to increasing engagement and interaction with your audience, which inevitably leads to more exposure for your business. For the uninitiated, Facebook defines reach as the number of people who have viewed your post within a 28-day period of its publication. In addition, Facebook considers your post to have successfully reached someone when it has been loaded and presented in their News Feed.
Without a doubt, increasing Facebook reach is a doorway to higher sales and conversions, and by Facebook’s own admission, organic (i.e., non-paid) reach is expected to dwindle, which by default implies that the push towards paid ad solutions should be on the forefront of most page admins’ minds. But before you completely panic, try these six tricks to squeeze as much free organic reach out of your page as possible.
1. Use Image Posts
It’s impossible to overstate the importance of this tip. Any seasoned online marketer will tell you that images are solid gold on Facebook. Human beings are naturally drawn to images more than plain text, and no matter how proficient of a writer you may be, an eye-catching image will have much more of an immediate impact than a plain-text post title (even if it’s clever). Choose photos that have some type of extraordinary quality to them – a breathtaking landscape, a visual oddity or an image that’s just plain funny. There are several meme-based websites that can provide you with plenty of hilarious or popular images, many of which you can add captions to and share on Facebook.
While it may not necessarily be fitting to include promotional links or calls-to-action in some of your image posts, this type of eye-catching content will give you more general exposure, some of which will stick around. Get creative – you can include collage-based images, popular artwork images or even infographics. Also, don’t underestimate the power of an “amateur” or “spur-of-the-moment” photo; many times this will convey a more genuine or down-to-earth feel. In this digital age full of super-sharp images and professional photo retouching, it can be surprising to find out how many people will connect with a slightly-blurry snapshot taken with a cell phone.
2. Post Your Content Later in the Day
Several Facebook marketing studies have indicated that the later you post your content in the day, the more likes and shares you’ll receive on average versus posting earlier in the day. If you think about it, this makes sense, because evening time is normally when most working people are beginning to wind down and look for casual entertainment, such as browsing Facebook. The optimal time to post content according to most studies is around 8 p.m.
Following the same line of logic, weekends are a prime time to post your content as well. As a general rule, people simply have more free time on their hands and many use it to get on the Book. In addition, corporate brands generally tend to post fewer Facebook updates on weekends, leaving you more of an opportunity to gain traction in your fans’ feeds.
3. Respond to Quickly to Inquiries
In this fast-paced world of modern business, you can’t afford to not take immediate action where customer inquiries are concerned. If someone has directly reached out to you by way of your Facebook page, jump on it and respond as soon as possible. One out of every six consumers on Facebook expect to receive a response to their question in less than thirty minutes. According to SocialBakers, the current average response time is a dismal 22 hours, which is basically an eternity in digital terms.
4. Host Live Interactive Events
There’s something about genuine interaction that endears people to you and your brand. You can set up a weekly Q & A session, feature an “Expert Friday” or just host a general chat based around a given topic. Truthfully, the actual content of the session doesn’t matter as much as how willing you are to engage with the audience over that content. People love to be heard, to be listened to and to be validated. Hosting some type of interactive session will definitely strike a positive chord with your fan base and allow them to contribute to the conversation in a manner that will feed those basic needs. People love to know that there’s an actual, live person on the other end of the fiber optic cables, and these types of interactive events can solidify your authenticity in their minds.
5. Run a Facebook Contest
Contests are an excellent way to generate excitement around your brand and attract more social followers. Sweepstakes, giveaways and photo or video contests can really bring out the enthusiasm and creativity of your fan base. Try a “Best Caption” contest for photos or a “Most Creative User-Submitted Commercial” for videos. You can even enlist the help of your followers to vote on or select a winner. A word of caution: Facebook is very particular about the manner in which you conduct contests, so be sure to completely familiarize yourself with their terms and conditions before you run your first contest.
6. Vary Your Content as Much as Possible
Thankfully, Facebook has given Page admins several tools to work with in order to make the most out of their content creation. Use every available tool they provide in order to mix it up and keep things fresh for your audience. Examples of the type of content you can publish include:
- Regular text posts (varied lengths)
- Questions or Polls
The most important thing to remember is that there is no such thing as a “one size fits all” approach to content publishing. You will have to employ a wide variety of content creation techniques and then test, measure, analyze and track responses based on common metrics such as likes, shares and comments. Don’t be afraid to experiment and try new things, even if some of them totally flop. You can learn just as much (if not more) from your failures as you can from your successes. After establishing this firm foundation, you can then begin experimenting with ways that paid ads can supplement your page growth, as well as implementing calls-to-action for opt-in subscriptions, sales and so forth.